Weekly Update: MENA

Contact: 
Caroline Scullin, cscullin@cipe.org, 202-721-9200

Egypt – CIPE’s New Egypt Forum facilitates an ongoing dialogue among opinion leaders, policymakers, and stakeholders about the institutional reforms needed for a free-market democracy to take hold in Egypt. This month CIPE sought to widen the scope of the New Egypt Forum by reaching out to a new generation of Egyptians. Beginning with a three-day retreat January 10-12 and continuing with a roundtable on January 19, CIPE challenged a group of 25 young Egyptian civic leaders and entrepreneurs from a variety of social backgrounds to look past the slogans of the revolution and the current political crisis in Egypt and identify medium to long-term priorities for institutional reform that would help revive Egypt’s stalled economy. The participants were enthusiastic about the challenge, and have committed to regular participation in CIPE’s ongoing forum.

Egypt – CIPE’s Egypt office held a workshop for businesspeople and business association representatives on private sector transparency. The workshop was based upon CIPE’s 2010 Guide to Transparency for the Private Sector, which spells out a step-by-step process by which firms can develop tailored codes of employee financial conduct that meet national and international standards. The workshop was intended to enhance participants’ understanding of the guide and provide examples of how it can be adopted and enforced by businesses in practice. The workshop and the guide are part of CIPE’s United States Agency for International Development-sponsored, private sector-led program to combat corruption and promote transparency in Egypt.

Iraq – CIPE partner the Kurdistan Information and Strategic Studies Center (KISSC) held a roundtable focused on the healthcare sector as a part of KISSC’s private sector advocacy program to encourage the adoption of recommendations included in the 2nd edition of the Kurdistan Business Agenda. Government officials and private sector representatives reviewed the needs of the industry, such as building more public and private hospitals and clinics, developing sound quality control standards on imported medicine, and improving training for nurses and medical support staff.

Iraq – CIPE partner the Iraqi Businessmen Union (IBMU) organized a public-private dialogue session to discuss the Consumer Protection Law, which was passed in 2010 but has not yet been implemented. Private sector participants recommended that the government engage the private sector in implementing the law, including involvement in the Consumer Protection Council and in the awareness-raising campaign, and in amending certain articles. Among the 70 participants in the event were government officials representing the Cabinet’s Advisory Commission, Ministry of Minerals and Industry, Ministry of Trade, General Commission for Taxes, Quality Control Directorate, and the National Investment Commission. CIPE Program Coordinator Mohammed Alauldeen spoke at the session, emphasizing the need for continued dialogue to enforce and amend the law based on recommendations from the IBMU, Iraq 2020 Assembly, and the private sector. Multiple media outlets covered the event including Al-Rasheed and Al-Hurra satellite channels.

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